I keep a dairy of our home school activities. Mainly to document our progress in case of a a control visit from the State Supervisory Authority. But also for our own use, to help us keep an overview of our work and activities through the years. I now have diaries from the past 10 years and sometimes I go back to help myself find an activity or way we did things, to inspire us again, to think in a new way. I am used to documenting, so it really feels as a natural choice to me. It gives me an overview of our life. I have also often shared my dairies with new Home Schoolers, who wrote to me and asked for help to set up their own.
Our dairy looks different throughout the year, but has a rhythm. The year goes as follows in our Home School:
From August until November and from January until April, we work systematically from a classical weekly schedule, that covers the basic subjects like Math, Danish, Languages (English, German, Spanish, Latin and Chinese), Physical Exercise, History, Geography, Biology, Physics, Chemistry and so on. We spend from 1-6 hours a day on our classical School work. Often we will have field trips as well, so we try to do our classical school work around those trips.
Here is an example of a weeks dairy entries in that period of the year:
Monday. The 2 oldest children chose a book of their own choice, read it, took notes and made a 15 minute talk to the rest of us about the books subject. This week the chosen subjects were “Witches before and now” and “Leonardo da Vinci”. The oldest child made a math test with the subject potency, square roots and cubic roots, she also translated from an English book called “The lives of Einstein” into Danish and did one page in her Danish grammar book “Min niende danskbog”. The youngest girl completed one page in her English book “Let’s do it Step Four”, one page in her Math book “Sigma for femte” and one page in her Danish book “Min femte danskbog”. The second oldest child completed one page in her Danish book “Min sjette danskbog”, one page in her English book “Let’s do it step five” and did a Math test in the subject linear functions. The youngest child completed one page in his Danish book “Læs nu løs – opgavehæfte 1A”, two pages in his Math book “Sigma for første A” and read aloud for us from “Læs nu løs”. At 11 o’clock a friend came over to take part in our Arts classes, where live drawing was planned. We talked about colour circles and experimented with oil, pastel and charcoal.
The two oldest girls chopped the wood for our fireplace. My husband came home from work and made an experiment with static electricity – we charged a balloon with a wool cloth and then turned on the water and it bend in reaction to the static charge.
Tuesday. The youngest child makes 2 pages in his book about knowing the time “Jeg lærer klokken” and his youngest sister helps him. The three oldest children complete one page in their Danish grammar book “Min femte, sjette and niende danskbog”. The two oldest children completes a math test from “Sigma”. I read aloud from our children’s bible “Børnenes illustrerede bibel” and the children drew an animated story that fit the bible storys content. We all practiced our Spanish, by working on Duolingo for 20 minutes. We then all went to a library where we met up with other Home Schoolers, and the children played together and read. In the evening the two oldest children, went together til an evening class, to learn about physics and chemistry.
Wednesday. All of us played mini-yatzy, an Alkalær card game with the most used 120 Danish words. The oldest child wrote a song for our musical project. The two youngest children made a movie featuring them making music on different objects around the house, inspired by our book “Skrammelmusik”. Two of our children practiced playing on our keyboard. The three oldest children made two pages in their German book “Gut Gemacht”. All the children made one page in their Math book “Sigma”. All the children made one page in their Danish grammar book “Min første, femte, sjette og niende danskbog”. The youngest child read aloud from his reading book “Læs nu løs”. The second oldest child went to her Drama School – Eventyr Teatret, and the oldest child followed her there. The two youngest children went to play with some friends at their house.
Thursday. The three oldest children filmed and practiced the last part of our film about the Peacock mantis shrimp. Martha edited the film. The three oldest girls wrote sentences in Latin and mum read aloud about Pompeii and a family that had been found in the remnants from the volcano. Hjalmar practiced reading from the book “Læs nu løs”. The three oldest girls then made one page in “Biologi – Pirana” and the oldest child supplemented with knowledge from her book “Menneskekroppen – Politiken”.
The youngest child completed one page in his Math book “Sigma for første A” and one page in his Danish work book “Læs nu læs – opgavehæfte 1 A”. The youngest child helped mum make a chocolate/beetroot cake. The two middle children sewed on their costumes for the musical we are going to perform in our garden.
Friday. The three youngest children read aloud from the chemistry book “Fysikemi 1”. We wrote a chemistry report plan together. We watched a film about Benhams colour wheel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benham%27s_top The youngest child read aloud from “Læs nu løs”, he also completed two pages in his Danish work book “Læs nu løs – opgavehæfte 1A”. Mum read aloud from the Science book “En meget kort historie om næsten alt” on the subject Einstein and his Relativity theory. While mum read, the three oldest children took notes. Together, we practiced writing, pronunciation and understanding of a number of Chinese signs.
The three youngest children tidied and cleaned their rooms. The oldest child edited the Peacock mantis shrimp film and put it out on our youtube channel Videnskanalen.
Mum went for a walk with the two youngest children. The two oldest children went on their newspaper round. In the evening mum went with the second oldest child to her ballet lesson. Later all the children played and build with Lego in their rooms.
Saturday. The oldest child worked on her animation for her little brother – a birthday present.
The second oldest child worked on a card for her little brother. The second youngest child feed her snake and discovered he was about to change his skin.
The second oldest child went on her bike to the supermarket and mailed some letters. One of them a letter her little sister had written to a friend. The children all played together with Lego.
In the evening we watched “Hair” together and talked about the Vietnam war and read about it on the internet.
Sunday. Early morning the second oldest child went with her mum to go swim in the ocean.
When they got back, she helped mum make dough for crispbread. The children build and played with Lego. The whole family went to the cinema and watched “The Lego Movie 2”.
The rest of the year, December and from May until July we have another rhythm.
December is a special month for us. It is the Christmas month. We love Christmas and all the traditions. So we have a goal every year, to get half way in our classical material work books, so we can focus completely on celebrating Christmas with gift making, singing, trips to see Santa, Santa Lucia, visiting Christmas show and exhibitions, making Christmas decorations and watching Christmas movies. We really love Christmas.
May until July we have our summer holiday. Mum is not working in this period of the year, so we have reclaimed all the evenings and can spend all day together every day. We spend most of this period of time swimming in the ocean, sewing, reading, writing, playing games, watching movies, going on trips, visiting friends and talk and talk. We also look at our wish list for the year and see which things has been on it for a while and we still all really would like to come to life. So now we often get time to realise those projects too.
That quite nicely sums up our standard year, and we love it. The best thing is, that we can change everything if we want to, from day to day. Home school is a flexible way of learning and you can always evaluate if your daily routines work for all of you.
We like to have an overview of a year in our school. It is also nice to have, if you are to have a control visit from the State Supervisory Authority.
We started out by reading the Danish common goals for state schools really closely. We knew we had by law to cover the common goals, so it seemed logic to me to write down all the subjects they cover in state schools. Then we filled in all the literature we use for the different subjects and we also wrote an annual goal and ideology. I will make an example below (this is not our actual year plan, but put together in a simplified way to give inspiration to others. In our actual year plans, we also have a section under each subject specific to each child):
Year plan 2018-2019
4 children – 9th grade, 6th grade, 5th grade and 0 grade.
As a foundation our teaching will be based on Danish common goals. Our children should at any point be able to enter a state school, with the academical and social skills that should be required at that grade.
Our home school has a focus on individual interests and personal development. The school supports them in each their individual process of learning, what they are interested in.
Participation in home schooling networks supports their socialization and gives them a like-minded group to relate to.
The oldest child participates in classes in different subjects she chooses through the publicly offered youth school. She also continues with her writing group, that she has arranged herself, at a local library once a week. She also continues writing projects for different competitions online and writing together with other child authors online on Movellas website, where she also helps correct their texts for misspellings and gives input on the storyline. The second oldest child participates in “Eventyr Teatrets” drama school. She also continues her ballet training, where she performs publicly at different events. The second youngest child participates in ZooCamp at the Copenhagen Zoo, where she together with other children her age learns about the animals and how to take care of them. We annually complete a theatrical piece in our garden in cooperation with other home schoolers.
During the day the children also learn to participate in general common jobs around the house, such as cleaning, tidying, cooking, baking, planning, gardening, shopping and solving conflicts.
We arrange and take part in regular home school meetings. Some of these are held at the nature cabin at Streyf in Copenhagen. These meetings are open to new home schoolers and old home schoolers. It offers a chance to give to the community, but is also an opportunity to meet new like-minded people to build relationships and projects together with.
The subjects taught through the year, joint and individual level.
I have written examples below of our structure. In our actual year plan, we also have sections under each subject on each child.
Every week we go to the library together to read. The children take part in the librarys “Summer Book” review. They write letters to friends in the mail or by email. They all complete their current grade Danish book “My ….th Danish grammer/writing book” by Delta, Maj Rørup. They read every day books that they like. Our goal is to improve grammatical technique and knowledge. Build onto the children’s level of constructing a story line. Work towards better handwriting skills and spelling. We use different games, such as “Scrabble”, “Spelling dice”, “Story cubes”, “Alphabet memory game” and puzzles. Annual trip to “Herlufsholm Fantasy Book Fair” where we meet the authors. Write novels and participate in selective competitions. Do individual writing projects after personal interest.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Danish:
DANSK, Gyldendals mini-grammatik, Erik J. Nielsen
My ….th Danish grammer/writing book, by Delta, Maj Rørup
The Magician Guild, Trudi Canavan
The Girl at Midnight, Melissa Grey
An unknown amount of Manga
Donald Duck in many versions
Skriveguide til forfatterspirer, Anna Lorenzen
Fra ide til bestseller, Rikke Moos
Alkymisten, Michael Scott
Lademanns children lexicon
H. C. Andersen
Mio min Mio – in Swedish
1000 and 1 night adventure
How to do brush lettering
The Princess Academy
Alkalær – Bo så en ko, Mi La + Ki Fu
The abducted letter
Training and learning an easy job 3-4 years
Halfdan Rasmussen ABC
Skæg med bogstaver
Learn the alphabet with dots from a-å
The family Hedenold
Contrasts (series about shapes and colours)
Newspapers and magazines
George Orwell, Animal Farm
George Orwell, 1984
Brave New World, (1932) Aldous Huxley
Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras, Scott Westerfeld
Mind Games, Teri Terry
We work towards the ability to ask mathematical questions. To be able to set up mathematical problems and then analyse the basis for and abilities of the models. To follow and judge a chain of mathematical arguments. To understand different ways of representing mathematical objects. To decode symbols and equations. To asses and evaluate the use of mathematical aids. We cover Exponentiation, geometry, fractions, percentage, charts and interest. Every year the children will complete each their current grade math book “Sigma for ….. grade” and the additional test in the system. We learn about the history behind numbers, like for example roman numerals and zero. We take math into daily life, by calculating prize differences when shopping food and other daily necessities. We make a market stall by our house and learn about prizing and sales optimisation. We learn about algebra and how to use it in daily life. We try to improve each our level of mental arithmetic.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Math:
Sigma for ….. grade, pupils book and work sheets
We travel together by car, public transport, by bike or by foot. We talk about the different traffic situations we encounter on our way and take action on the mistakes we make.
When the children reach a trustworthy level of individual responsibility for their own skills in the traffic, we let them slowly try different little trips in traffic on their own.
Then after a while when they feel more confident in traffic on their own, we let them for example go on their own to spare time activities or to a friends house on their own.
We also visit the traffic playground in Copenhagen, where you in a safe environment, can learn how to follow traffic lights and traffic signs by bike or by foot.
We bike together or alone around Copenhagen for exercise. We walk to the playgrounds in our area. We go shopping together and carry home loads of heavy food and necessities. We go to the sea, the forest and walk in the nature together. All our children like rollerblading, so they are often used for a quick run around in our area. We also have a trampoline in our garden, which is in use most of our days. We also have trees you can climb in our garden and in our local area, which is a popular sport with the kids. Generally, we try to challenge the childrens motorical boundaries.
We swim frequently in the ocean or in lakes during the summer. In the wintertime we visit different swimming pools, where we practice our swimming abilities.
In the winter we go to skating rinks inside and outside. If there is snow outside, we go skiing and ride on our toboggans.
We really love dancing. Most days we put on music and dance around the living room together. We all get to choose our favorite music and to us music is the joy of life.
We visit “Eventyr fabrikken” in Kokkedal, which is a very physical place for children, where they can play and challenge their own physical abilities. We also go to Sommerland Sjælland to exercise and have fun moving our bodies.
We meet with other home schoolers in a park once a year to play rounders together.
Every morning the kids have to run 5 times around our house. They also have to do 3 yoga exercises of their own choice.
Most of our kids go to spare time activities of their own choice. One does ballet and drama classes. Another attends lessons in break dance. Another does musical dance.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Physical Education:
Sjov med yoga for børn og voksne, Juliet Pegrum.
Yoga for dig, Rebecca Rissman.
Lyt til løven yogaremser for børn, Lotte Salling og Emmamaria Vincentz.
Our Religious Education has Christianity as a foundation. We curiously and openly study, experience and look into the other major and minor religions.
We read aloud from children bibles, they take notes and draw a cartoon about that particular section. We then talk about the historical element at that time and discuss the story we have read in relation to present time.
We visit a playgroup for children in a church once a week. In that playgroup, we often experience theatrical setups of different important moments in the bible.
We read about other religions than christianity and talk about what religion in general means to us and other people.
We visit the Hare Krishna festival, The Turban day, the Jewish synagogue and the Ba Hai Centre .
We make a Lucia Parade to the joy of our grandfather. We read about the traditions we celebrate as a Christian Country.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Religion:
A selection of bibles. Mainly Børnenes illustrerede bibel, Borgen.
Stories of Creation from different religions and cultures.
Books about the Norse mythology.
Annunciation to the shepherds (christmas).
We look at a wide selection of Danish songs and hymns. We listen to them and practice singing them. We learn about nodes and practice reading them and writing them. We make music videos and write choreography to the dances we use in them. We dance to Just Dance videos from youtube.
Each child has chosen an instrument they want to learn how to use. They practice that instrument minimum twice a week. One plays the tin whistle, another guitar and two plays keyboard.
One of our children take part in singing lessons through her drama school. Another attends musical dance through evening youth school, where she will take part in a final show.
We study as many musicals, that time allows us. We go to see as many operas and ballets economically possible for us. We introduce the children to a wide range of classical music from different time periods. Every day we listen to music from different historical and genre points of view. We talk about that period in time and how this music may have come about, how it was received and read about the artists lives. We also visit the music museum and have a guided tour.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Music:
A selection of Danish classical song books.
The Clarke Tin Whistle song book.
Vi spiller klaver 1.
Hov hov, musik for sjov.
Aura for Laura.
Søde ord sangbogen, Alkalær.
Læs nu løs sangbogen, Alkalær.
In the subject Art, we do a lot of trips and workshops:
We visit Rudolf Tegners museum and take part in a clay workshop there.
We go to Louisiana museum and have a tour for children of the Wang Shu architecture exhibition.
We visit the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Louisiana and watch movies about her life and talk about how we understand her art, each of us.
We go to Charlottenborg Art Hall and see the exhibition by Ai Wei Wei and John Kørner and more artists.
We go to Rundetårn and see the New Scandinavian Exhibition.
We visit Perspective Playground in Øksnehallen offered by Olympus.
The oldest daughter visits the Crafts Fair in Rødovre with mum.
The oldest daughter has an internship with a shop/artist who creates and sells mosaik.
The second oldest daughter dresses up to take part in role play workshop in the forest.
The second oldest daughter takes part in a theatre workshop through Gabriel Jensens ferierejser at Enghavevej AFUK Remisen.
We organize a play/Circus/musical of the children’s choice in our garden, together with other home schoolers who are interested in making such a project.
Here is a selection of our art and crafts done at home:
We experiment with Fimo clay.
We create plays and perform with our puppet theatre.
The children design and create their own Fastelavn costume, with help from mum.
We host a Fastelavns party at our house where all Home Schoolers are invited and welcome to take part. We are usually around 45 people.
The children write, direct and film their own ideas for movies.
The children paint acrylic and water Colour on canvases.
Mum teaches own children + interested home schooled children in art, colour and painting at our house.
We talk about different artist we come across on our way in life.
Mum teaches the children to Croche.
Mum teaches the children Needle felting.
Mum teaches the children embroidery.
Mum teaches the children to sew by hand and by machine.
Mum teaches the children to knit.
We make house and caves out of card board boxes.
We make dolls and animals out of straw.
The oldest daughter designs, pattern cut and sew her own Harry Potter cape.
The second oldest daughter sews a selection of bags.
The second oldest daughter also develops her own skills in weaving beads by hand, into purses and other accessories.
The second oldest daughter builds a Barbie bed, together with dad.
The youngest daughter sews a pair of shorts for herself on the sewing machine.
In the subject Natural Science, we do a lot of trips and workshops. Here is a selection of them:
Trip to Faxe Kalkbrud (Limestone quarry) and Faxe Geological museum.
Visited the Radio Museum in Ringsted.
Visited a blueberry plantation.
Went to Møns Klint and looked at the geological biotope.
The whole family went together to a Maker Space event, where everyone got the chance to try their hands on different kinds of electronic workshops.
Annual membership of Eksperimentarium, where we will visit once a week.
Went to lecture at Vartov on Spacetime.
Went to lecture at the Geological Museum on Fossils.
Visited the MS Museum of maritime in Elsinore.
Visited the Technical Museum in Elsinore several times and at one time we met Vincent Ceremet there and he told us himself about his life and the machines he has invented.
Annual visit to Roskilde cattle show.
Went to Kvæsthusbroen and saw a huge rescue exercise with helicopters, divers, life guards and submarine.
Visited Mosetræf in Utterslev Mose. A big nature celebration, with nature advisors and many activities for children, like fishing, examining edible plants in the area and shooting with bow and arrow.
Went on a sailing trip on Furesø, with a locally arranged 1½ hour trip around the whole lake.
Went camping in Hornbæk.
Visited the Zoo several times.
Trip to London mum and the oldest daughter, where they visited English friends, the Science Museum and China Town.
Here is a selection of our Natural Science done at home:
The Children learn how to use OpenScad/Tinkercad with dad and then use it to design objects they want to print on a 3D printer.
We have/buy a large selection of chemistry and physics set, which we carry out together.
we do a large number of physics and chemistry experiments at home.
We play memory games, backgammon, card games and much more to practice our logic thinking.
We analyse basic things we do around the house like cooking an egg, making porridge, turning on the cooker (gas), lighting a bonfire and sort them into chemistry and physic reactions and processes.
We have a bonfire in the garden where we cook our food, when we feel like it.
The children write their own cookbook, where they write down the recipes they like the most or use the most.
The children plant seeds and watch them grow in the garden. We are all responsible for our vegetable garden and take turns on removing weeds, watering and harvesting.
We study the insects in our garden.
We make a large number of electronic projects together as a family, with dad as the teacher. We make circuits.
We study the periodic table. Talk and read about the chemical elements, atoms and molecules.
We do the Ørsted and Faraday coil experiment on electromagnetism.
We test magnetism with iron filings moving in patterns when exposed to magnetism.
We teach the children to program in Scratch, HTML and Java.
The three oldest children completed the Pirana series in Geography and biology.
We own a children lexicon from the publisher Lademann, which the children sit on their own and read in when they feel like it. It tells about how our world works – electricity, water, heating and much much more.
We bake and cook together and talk about the ingredients and the chemical processes.
We read and talk about the different continents. Go through the different countries, culture, traditions, size, population, climate, industry and history.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Natural Science:
Max Wainewright, Sådan koder du, Lær computerprogrammering trin for trin.
Din bog om naturvidenskab, Politikens forlag.
Naturskolens vilde dyr.
Dine fantastiske sanser.
En meget kort historie om næsten alt, Bill Bryson.
Health, Sex Education and Family Knowledge
In the subject Health, Sex Education and Family Knowledge, we do a lot of trips and workshops. Here is a selection of them:
Visit to the Healthy Lifestyle Fair at Øksnehallen, Copenhagen.
First Aid course/workshop at Vigerslev bibliotek, Valby.
The children have their teeth cleaned and checked at the main dentist school in Copenhagen, where we have the opportunity to ask questions and acquire professional knowledge of dental care.
The children goes with their mother to the dentist and the dentist allows the children to sit next to her and learn about dental care.
Here is a selection of our teaching in Health, Sex Education and Family Knowledge at home:
Talk about periods and pregnancy.
Talk about birth control.
We practice teeth brushing on a model of the teeth.
We tell about dental care and tooth replacement for adult teeth.
A taste of our literature and other material for the year on the subject Health, Sex Education and Family Knowledge:
Sådan får man et barn, Borgens Forlag, Per Holm Knudsen.
A huge selection of books about how the body works.
models of different parts of the body.
model of the teeth.
Din fantastiske krop, Steve Parker.
Iwona Radunz, Thomas Röhner, Min rokketand – alt om dine mælketænder.
Tandsylvanien, faktabog om dine tænder.
Menneskekroppen, anatomi, fysiologi og sygdomme, Steve Parker
Educational, business and labor market orientation
We talk about which professions our friends and acquaintances have. When we come in contact with different professions, we talk about how a daily life would look like with this education/experience, and how to reach such an education and life.
Every year we take part in a christmas market, where the children have a stall where they sell home made crafts. They learn about math, production, advertising, salesmanship this way.
Our oldest daughter will take part in open day at different high schools she is interested in continuing her education at. She will also take part in “high school pupil for a day” where she is a part of an ordinary day at a high school.
When we go shopping or are in public spaces, we analyse advertising methods, what the employees do, how the spaces are adapted to their use and how well it works.
The two oldest children has a newspaper round that they manage themselves and sort out all the challenges this may involve. We work towards the children trying different paying jobs. Until now, they have tried delivering newspapers and advertisements. The oldest child has tried babysitting. The oldest child has also looked after chicken. The oldest child also cleans a near by airbnb with mum, once in a while.
All of our children has a few ideas to what direction of work they would like to do for a living. So we try to investigate those directions and make profession related trips.
In the subject History, we do a lot of trips and workshops. Here is a selection of them:
Visit to Charlottenlund Fort and Charlottenlund castle.
Regular visits to the National Museum in Copenhagen.
Regular visits to the Workers Museum in Copenhagen.
Participate in different School tours of Glyptoteket, with other home schoolers.
Visit to Frilandsmuseet.
Participate in different School Tours of Tivoli, with other home schoolers.
Visit to Esrum Kloster.
Visit to Fredensborg Lokalhistorisk Museum.
Visit to the Historical War Festival at Vestvolden.
Tour by cycle taxi from Kongens Nytorv to the little mermaid and past Amalienborg Castle.
Visit to the Prison Museum (vestre fængsel).
Visit to the Tram Museum (Sporvejs museet).
The History lessons we do at home, is taught with all the pupils together. We use a large selection of material on history, but are very fond of Nils Hartmann, and have gone through most of his books. The older children read a lot of history books on their own, but together we sit down and read aloud a chapter, then talk about the text, look up more information on the internet and look for geographical information on our map. The children take down notes on the information received.
A taste of our literature and other material for the year on the subject History:
Børnenes Verdenshistorie, Nils Hartmann.
Børnenes Danmarkshistorie, Nils Hartmann.
Hvem bestemmer i Danmark, Nils Hartmann.
We teach English, German, Spanish, Chinese and Latin every week. We also gain knowledge and understanding of Swedish and Norwegian. The children are very fond of languages and like to get a general knowledge of different grammatical structures. English and German is our basis and the rest of the languages is taught on request from the children.
A taste of our literature and other material for the year on the subject Languages (we use the relevant school level books):
For english we use Let’s do it, Forlaget Delta, Great inventions, The Lives of Einstein, Myths in 30 seconds, Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, The adventures of Lulu, The sly fox, Sleeping Beauty, The little Mermaid, Adventures in famous Places.
For German we use Gut Gemacht, Forlaget Delta, Pirana, Hansi Hase und der goldene topf and Goofy und das verwunschene Schloss.
For Spanish we use Pirana and Duolingo.
For Chinese we use Kinesisk sprog.dk, Chineasy, Chineasy flash cards and Chinese fridge magnets. We also test our Chinese on our local Chinese speaking shop owner near by.
For Latin we use Cambridge Latin Book 1 on the internet, Fabula and Learning Latin Through Mythology.
For Swedish and Norwegian we visited friends in Norway. We also read Mio min mio in Swedish.
In general, the starting point in our home school is, that all questions must be answered. Especially questions about society and how it works, is important to get answered right away and get information and sources searched so that children can form their own opinion about what is happening around them. Source criticism and searching through many different sources are very important to us, in order for them to find their own individual understanding of society.
We try to involve the children in elderly people’s lives in Denmark by visiting nursing homes and grandparents to learn tolerance towards people who do no longer have the same abilities as themselves. Once a year the children take part in a fashion show in a nursing home, where mum teaches in sewing. The pupils go on the catwalk and show the work they have produced throughout the year.
We look at different political points of view. Try to understand the different medias view, seem from the political ideology they represent. We always try to research news stories from many sources and then discuss them together.
We look at politics in Denmark, the EU and the rest of the world. We look at living conditions in Denmark and compare it to the rest of the World. We look at working conditions in Denmark and the rest of the world. We look at feminism in Denmark and abroad.
We talk about wars in the world right now and read about them in the newspapers and other media. We also talk about the refuge challenges. We read about different structures of society, like royalty, dictatorship and democracy.
We discuss the justice system in Denmark and compare it to the rest of the world. We talk about poverty and wealth.
We talk about social norm, and how it shapes and affects a population.
We discuss environmental aspects and how we look after the Earth.
A taste of our literature and other material for the year on the subject Social Science:
When we started out home schooling, we had a goal to create a community of home schoolers for our children. We wanted to create an environment, that showed our children that they were not alone. We wanted to show them that it is OK to live your life in different ways. That it actually makes life more interesting.
So we started looking for other home schoolers in Denmark. 10 years ago there were only 200 registered home schooled children and we could only find 3 families on the internet, that replied to us contacting them. So they invited us to a monthly meeting, where they met up at the National Museum in Copenhagen. There was a sunday activity there for children, which we took part in and then we went to the school room where you were allowed to eat your lunch. After we went to the children museum, where the children could play together. After a while the meetings kind of dissolved and we had a few times where we were the only home schoolers showing up. So we thought it was time for a new initiative.
One of our friends then started doing home school meetings montly at their house. Everybody who was an active home schooler or aspiring to be, was welcome. We took part in those meetings and at one point our friend asked us to do every second of those meetings at our house. So we started sharing the arrangement of those meetings. Our friend then at some point didn’t want to make the meetings at their house and I took over all of them. They grew. Often we would count 45 people at our house and something had to be done to fit in all those people.
As we had been scouts for many years at a nature cabin owned by the state, we had been offered to take a user certificate to the cabin. That meant that we could book the cabin for nature arrangements for home schoolers. So we started having our meetings there. There was a lot of space, things you could do, set up bonfires and make food, go fishing, climb trees. All good ways to build new relationships and help new home schoolers get started.
Having these meetings took a lot of effort and we still have them, but now only around 4 times a year. That works really well. The cabin have space for 80 people. Usually we are around 5-15 families.
All these initiatives that we have made, has helped our children feel part of a group and that they have a group to relate to. It has also been heart warming to help so many people get started through the years. It is always nice to be able to help other people.
We also were part of a new up and coming free school in Denmark, that friends of ours started. Our kids went there once a week to play with their friends. I arranged all the seasonal events and also did a monthly teaching day at the school in different subjects. At one point the school grew so big that it was not in our interest to continue and we moved all our seasonal arrangement to our own garden and invited all the home schoolers that we knew.
We have also taken part in a playgroup at a local church for 9 years, where the person in charge was very open to home schoolers and mixed age groups. She took us in and we changed that playgroup from 2-6 year old to 0-15 year old mixing with each other in full harmony.
All of these initiatives that we have made during the years, has helped grow a strong homeschooling network in Denmark. We want to inspire others to do the same. It is a great way to get playmates and create an envirenment where home schooling is the norm.
We still have these meetings, as we probably will be homeschooling for 10 more years. We post the dates on facebook in relevant groups.
When we set out home schooling 10 years ago, we talked a lot about what our basic ideas were. We realized that most other homeschooling families we met, had other ideas from ours, that shaped their Home School. These are our foundation, and we try to stay as true to them as possible.
We try to answer all the children’s questions, right now or as quickly as possible. We say “yes!” if we can. We try to fulfill all learning wishes set forward by the children.
Every member of the family contribute in practical chores. We are all a precious part of the team.
Our goal is to learn something new every day. To learn as much as possible, based on our present level, individually. Our level of knowledge is not static, we are all the time in a progress of learning.
We spend as much time as possible together, as a family, and prioritize time spend talking together. It is important for us to have plenty of time to eat together.
We teach our children to respect each other and other people. We accept that other people have different views to us. We are allowed to be free to be so physical that we may hurt ourselves, and find our natural limits. We may shout, scream, be unfair, tired, but always be able to say sorry and work on making things good again, with respect for the damage we may have caused. We work on finding our own limits and others.
We do not shield our children from the world, we inform and enlighten them. You can tell children about everything in the world, you just have to find the best way for them to understand right now in their level of understanding.
Teach our children to take initiative.
We limit trips and visitors to at the most every second day. We prioritize space for personal development.
Screen time is limited to a minimum. Spending time outside in the nature, time for play, movement and creativity are prioritized.
We aim for a level of learning, that is above elementary school, so our children with ease could be included in such a school, if it no longer are possible for us economically to afford homeschooling on one full salary and a part-time wage.
When we want to summarize what we have learned or a subject is hard for us to remember, we make posters. Our whole house is full of them. It is also a good way to easily look up formulas or grammar during teaching. The younger kids also benefit, they walk by and read about what they find interesting. Then we get a chance to talk with them about new areas.
At the end of the year each of our kids make a poster with the different areas they have learned about in math.
Home Schooling is all about giving and sharing. Sharing knowledge with your children. Teaching them that when you give to the universe it comes back to you. The best way to create friendships is through being a giving person. Sharing knowledge is the way to a better world. Creating a community comes through everyone giving what they can and know. Sharing knowledge.
When we started out Home Schooling, I very early decided, that to create our own community, we had to be very active towards arranging meetings, events and play dates. I also wanted to strengthen the children’s feeling of normality by seeking out like-minded people.
So right from the start we went on with arranging meetings at out house, general meetings, meetings with a subject, seasonal events and playdates. All the skills we have, we have shared with other home schoolers. I have had guest students, taught sewing, acting, dancing, biology, natural science, geography and much more to those who have been interested.
We have been so lucky to meet a lot of wonderful people who has done the same for us. We are grateful.
People often ask us to tell about a typical home school day. So here we go. The main thing about home schooling, is that there is no such thing, as a typical day/week. You have the freedom to have a new plan everyday. But for us, there is a need to have a plan and the security of repetition.
Many years ago our oldest daughter asked to have a weekly schedule put up on the wall every week, so she would know what our plans were. So every week I make a new schedule and put up Sunday evening. Some things will continue to be on the schedule for a long time and others, are only one of events.
The subjects on the schedule is a mix of adult and child wishes. I have chosen that they do general subjects that keep their learning above public school level, so it would be easy academically to enter a public school, if we no longer are able to home school. But also to prepare them for high school or other later education of their choice. Then the children have chosen to have additional subjects, like Spanish, Latin and Chinese. Subjects and how often we have them can vary on our schedule. We can also have weeks where we do project work intensively.
Well, back to a typical day. Let’s start with today. Today we had a day at home. We try to ballance days out of the house and days at home. We often get to plan too much, especially trips and activities out of the house. That often leaves us exhausted and longing for a day at home to get back our energy and catch up on basic stuff. We also really like to get good food and to have time to eat. As a general rule, we try to stay at home in the daytime every second day.
We usually get up at around 7 am-8 am. Then we all do our chores, do our exercises and positive confirmations. The kids empty the dishwasher, they put away any clean dry laundry, they open the windows and air out the house to start of with a fresh oxygen filled house. In the evening I have put their books ready on the table, so they can start working when they are dressed and have done their personal hygiene. I hang up any wet laundry to dry and put on the washing machine with a new load. Then I do my exercises, while the kids do their individual schoolwork like math, Danish, English and German. I go to and from my exercises to help them when they get stuck and so goes the time until around 9 am-9:30. Then I usually get time to get dressed and get ready. I make breakfast, alone or with a kid who needs a break from school work. Then we sit down together and eat.
We usually then do our common school work. That is the rest of the subjects, mentioned above. Today we did biology, Latin and biology project.
I prepared bread in the kitchen while they worked on the Latin exercises, and then corrected them together with them.
Then the children worked on a movie for their youtube channel, while I prepared lunch together with the smallest child in the kitchen.
Then we watched their work on the computer while eating, and decided on redoing it after eating. So we shot another section of the movie, until we were happy with the result.
Then the youngest child and I made a beetroot chocolate cake in the kitchen, while the oldest child edited the movie together and worked on her musical as well. The two middle children sewed on their costumes for a dance show they are planning.
Then we were expecting two good friends to come over for a sleepover, but unfortunately they had gotten the flu, so we had to eat the cake on our own. Don’t worry friends, if you read this, we will make a new one for you.
The at 3 pm we have quiet time until 4 pm. At that time you can do what you want to do – play on the computer, watch movies, talk to your friends on the phone, read, play outside or go where your imagination takes you. I meditate and drink tea.
Today we have a quiet evening. No spare time activities or work. We all enjoy having our meals together and being able to talk and relax in the evening with a movie or game together. The kids often work on creative projects in the evening, writing, sewing, knitting or drawing. They often also just play and make lots of noise and play music and dance.
So how does a typical week look?
A general example of our weekly schedule could look like this:
The subjects at the bottom has stayed the same for a while, because it work well. We have a language a day, as the kids like languages. We have math and danish three days a week, because they got fed up with having it every day. We finish our books already in april every year anyway, so we manage to do enough work anyway, to be ahead of general curriculum. My work is on the schedule, so the kids know when I am not at home in the evening or daytime. The childrens newspaper route is also on the schedule, so we are able to make everything work out with the time we have available. Creative subjects are not on the schedule, as they are present in most things we do, and they infiltrate most other subjects. Project on thursday and friday is a new thing we are trying after the kids started a knowledge based youtube channel called : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2ECOh462jxQraolPZ53evw
At the middle of the schedule you see events that vary from week to week, like playdates, trips, hobbies, meetings and so on. The kids attend different sparetime activities outside the house like physics and chemistry, drama and ballet. They figure on the schedule on and off, when they have their seasons.
The weekend is also included, as we often go on educational trips together as a family in the weekend or visit friends and family.
Next week will be the winter holiday. Originally, when starting out home schooling, we did not separate school and spare time, but we have found that we have a need to do this. So we now have the same holidays as schools. The difference is just that we do not do the usual subjects, but mostly do trips and project work. This winter holiday we will work intensively on costumes, painting the barrel and go pick branches for our fastelavn celebrations. We are so looking forward!
When starting out Home Schooling, it can be hard to find your own feet. When we started out Home Schooling, we had a lot of resistance from some people around us. People asked many critical questions. Some people find it very hard to accept, when you choose to live your life in a way that is lived by a minority of people. In an ideal world, everyone would be supportive and offer their help and positive curiosity. But unfortunately that is not reality.
At the beginning you also have so many questions and for some the fear of taking responsibility for your own children learning. What should a day look like? Is there a wrong and a right way to do it? We have gotten so far away from taking responsibility and relying on our own gut feeling, that some people feel like floating and near drowning, when taking the step to Home School.
When we started out Home Schooling, our greatest fear was not being able to manage economically. So I also started out teaching 2-4 evenings a week, seasonally. This was pretty tough with a 1, 2 and 5-year old at home. But our new free life just felt so good and the children were thriving.
But there were very few Home Schoolers in Denmark in 2009, so it was hard getting play dates and the current friends quickly left us, as they started in the local School. So we slowly had to rebuild our social life. We enrolled in a weekly play group and started contacting the other home schoolers we could find on the internet and met up with them.
But our first year was hard. Actually the first few years were hard finding our feet. But I had tried major changes in my life before, so I just fought my way through it, as we had such a great every day life.
Through the years, the number of Home Schoolers has increased and I have played a mentor role for many of them. I have invited them into our house and talked to them about all their concerns and helped them as well as I could. If I could avoid them having to go through the feeling of being all on your own with these many questions, I would see it as a great way to spend my time. I often also would acquire new great friends and play mates for my children.
Home School meeting 2018-08-12 at Streyf Nature Cabine.
We have, and still do, arrange meetings and activities where old and new Home Schoolers can meet, ask questions and make friends. This is also one of the main reasons why I have set up this website – to help new Home Schoolers, not feel so alone.